12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Predates dinosaurs. Can survive in waters having low salt content. Eats planktonic animals, small fish, small crustaceans, and mollusk eggs. Eaten by sea turtles (especially Leatherback Turtles), birds, and fish. Adults live up to a year in the wild; 18 months in captivity. Can sense light, chemical changes, and touch. Can also orient themselves spatially.Continue reading “12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)”

Alligator body language: a short photo essay

It was March at Sweetwater Wetlands Park (Gainesville, FL), and bull alligators were defending their territories. This bull alligator had just crossed the pond, where an even larger male sunned itself in the company of a much smaller female. He parked himself near the embankment, crossing the tip of his rival’s snout, which was pointedContinue reading “Alligator body language: a short photo essay”

The Tiniest Grasshopper

I noticed movement along the trail and discovered a group of tiny black grasshoppers, all under a half-inch long. They had bright red markings and preferred crawling to hopping. A new-to-me species! Or so I thought. I couldn’t wait to research my find on the internet, only to learn that I’ve seen this species manyContinue reading “The Tiniest Grasshopper”

Leaffooted Bug

I mistook this insect for a type of Assassin Bug, which has a potent sting. For this reason, I used a telephoto setting to photograph this penny-sized insect, and then enlarged the photo using photo-editing software. It is actually a Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus), which gets its name from its flattened back legs. The malesContinue reading “Leaffooted Bug”

Observing Small Species at GTM Reserve

The birds seemed unusually skittish. So I turned my attention to smaller creatures.

Obsessed with Spiders – From Fear to Fascination

I was sitting on the couch, enjoying a bowl of popcorn as I surfed YouTube. I came across a video about keeping Jumping Spiders as pets. “People do that?” Well, that video led to another and another and another. Before long I’d consumed innumerable videos on Jumping Spiders, which led to additional videos about otherContinue reading “Obsessed with Spiders – From Fear to Fascination”

Mannerly Laughing Gulls

One day, I came out of a sandwich shop juggling a soft-drink and a single slice of pizza draped precariously across a paper plate. As I stepped through the door, something large and white whooshed past my shoulder. I looked down to discover every bit of cheese had been lifted from my pizza. Although manyContinue reading “Mannerly Laughing Gulls”

Is it a Mallard or Mottled?

David W. Foster is one of the top birders in Duval County, Florida. He is also a regional reviewer for ebird.org, and follows-up on data submitted to the web site. I recently submitted a list that reported 33 Mottled Ducks at Spoonbill Pond (Big Talbot Island State Park, Duval County, FL). David was kind enoughContinue reading “Is it a Mallard or Mottled?”

Fiddler Crabs

One of my favorite places to go birding is Spoonbill Pond at Big Talbot Island State Park (Jacksonville, FL). Over the past two weeks, the pond has had a greenish cast. Today there was algae along the bank, and the water level seemed low. Although I spotted forty species, there were few birds in theContinue reading “Fiddler Crabs”